Immigration, Social Disadvantage and Urban Youth Gangs: Results of a Toronto-Area Survey
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Both media coverage and public opinion suggest that immigrants are responsible for a high proportion of youth gang activity in Canada. Unfortunately, very little academic research has actually examined the extent and nature of youth gang activity in this country. Our paper attempts to address this gap in the literature through an analysis of data from a survey of Toronto high school students and street youth. Our results suggest that: 1) immigrant youth are less likely to report gang affiliation than their Canadian born counterparts; 2) although Black and Hispanic youth are more likely to report gang activity than youth from all other racial backgrounds, the majority of gang members in Toronto are Canadian-born whites; and 3) racial differences in gang involvement can be explained by racial differences in economic and social marginalization. The policy implications of these findings are discussed.